19 SEPTEMBER 2016
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Another strike by French air traffic control (ATC) workers last week brought the International Air Transport Association (IATA) into the fray as the organisation called on European governments to ensure flights could still operate despite such industrial action.
IATA said the current frequency of disputes, which have already caused more than 3,000 cancellations this year, was “totally unacceptable”. Last week’s action was the 14th this year by French ATC workers.
IATA European regional vice president Rafael Schvartzman said: “The time has come for European governments to work together to ensure the essential service of air traffic control is able to continue even during strikes."
Schvartzman urged ATC workers to be more open to industry reform. "They should be embracing reforms that are critical to delivering the safety, capacity, cost and environmental improvements European air travellers deserve," he said.
IATA said a starting point would be for each country to develop its own national airspace strategy, in consultation with airlines, containing provisions for ensuring service continuity.
The lobby group Airlines4Europe (A4E), a long-time critic of the strikes, also repeated its call for action. MD Thomas Reynaert said: “Although we are not questioning the individual right of workers to take industrial action, the demands of increasingly-mobile European citizens and businesses cannot be taken hostage by localised industrial action.”
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